More and more technology is beginning to provide great value in all aspects of life. No less is the impact then on the arena of sports science. If you just turn on your TV and just watch the National Geographic channels show such as “Humanly impossible” (http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/series/humanly-impossible/4315/Overview#tab-Videos/07495_00) or “Fight Science”(http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/series/fight-science/4234/Overview) you can notice that technology can measure heart rate, breathing rate, skin temperature, speed, and impact. The question next is how to separate this data from just paralyzing the person that wants to use these devices.
The goal in using technology to reduce the risk of overuse injuries yet obtain optimal fitness development among athletes; research comparing different training strategies is the future of sport science. This article will discuss this topic in a series of article focuses in on specific methods of using data to help a coach, trainer, first responder, and sports scientist in their everyday life.
The Prometheus of data collection started with heart rate monitoring. To date most research started in military (super soldier) and then sports science community which goals were to help in preventing injury and improving performance(2,5). The goal was to be able to invasively indicate stress and training impact from different stress (4,5). Heart rate served a great purpose at that time.
The limitation of heart rate (HR) monitoring is age, environment (heat, cold, and altitude), and type of activity (ground bearing or not). The lesson learned is that we need to be three dimensional in looking at HR as a guide and correlate this other variables (2,3,5).
However Heart rate has created a value especially when performing a meaningful fitness Tests to individual heart rate training numbers. Targets can be provided after one person understands what numbers mean light, moderate, hard (3).
Think in 3D (data, drives, decisions)
In this brave new world and race to how can create and use these technologies into training system that is evidence based will make the greatest impact for performance and wellbeing. Since today more than ever with the age of the internet we must be careful to just buy on personality and trend and look at the evidence.
What is the new frontier of physiological monitoring?
- Ventilation analysis: These devices are not new however today they are smaller and portable. Even today certain devices have no mask. These devices have provided very important data regarding a good number to gauge the body’s ability to train. The trainable number for improvement in fitness and performance is anaerobic threshold which can now be track during activity (breathing rate).
The golden standard has always been measuring athlete’s capacity to consume oxygen during work which is known as V02 max. The dilemma with this measurement tool is that is highly depended upon genetics and the athlete with the highest score is not the fittest or best athlete.
Therefore what is trainable is the anaerobic threshold of an athlete. This was often coveted by the sport coach as an art of coaching but today we can effectively say that this can be tested objectively (sorry coach)(2,3).
- Body Temprature– An important number to understand during pre-activity, during activity and post activity is body heat. Knowing the heat of the body provides insight into athlete’s hydration and even immunity to infection. To date we have several methods of measuring temperature the golden standard is core temperature. To date this still requires evasive methods of getting temperature. Other methods have been skin or rectal. The dilemma is in measuring the temperature without impeding training or someone privacy. The argument has been made than skin temperature by itself is not as accurate as core temperature. But like my statement previously made in this article is to think in 3D and use other data HR, BR, and skin temperature to get a big picture on training(1,4,5).
- Accelerometers- These devices today are as small as dime and can provide information such as speed, distance and body position. These points of data provide great information to compare to heart rate to identify strengths and weakness therefore create better plan.
- Video analysis has created an ability to objectively analyze the biomechanics of movement and incorporate all physiological data into same screen. The ideal purpose is to analyze ideal model to deploy better plan.
These four advancements are what are being used by cutting edge professionals that want to impact their military, clients or teams fitness.
The next article will provide you a case study in how to use a Bioharness to get your goal on track.
- Armstrong, LE, Casa, DJ, Millard-Stafford, M, Moran, DS, Pyne, SW, and Roberts, WO. Exertional heat illness during training and competition. ACSM Position Stand. Med Sci Sports Exerc 39:556–572, 2007.
- Foster C, Crwe AJ, Daines E, Dumit M, Green MA, Lettau S, Thompson NN, Weymier J. Predicting functional capacity during treadmill testing independent of exercise protocol. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1996 28: 752-6
- Gladden. Lactate Metabolism: A new paradigm for the third millennium. Journal of Physiology. 2004; 558(1):5‐30.
- Kistemaker JA, Den Hartog EA, Daanen HA. Reliability of an infrared forehead skin thermometer for core temperature measurements.J Med Eng Technol. 2006;30(4):252–261.
- McLellan, TM, Jacobs, I, and Bain, JB. Influence of temperature and metabolic rate on work performance with Canadian Forces NBC clothing. Aviat Space Environ Med 64: 587–594, 1993.